The Day I Grew Up
It’s amazing how oblivious a person can be to everything and anything. It’s amazing how a person can fall for such artificial love. It’s amazing how a person can see past all meaning of life and happiness. It’s amazing that person was me.
One knock. Two knocks. The final knock.
“Miss Hadley! It’s time to get up” and she was in my room, sweeping up my various items of clothing that were scattered around my newly laid, cream carpet, and tossing them over her shoulder. I didn’t even have to fling my eye mask to the deep violet cloth that sat comfortably on my bedside table to know that Martha was bustling her self around my room in a frantic state, trying to clear it of almost everything before my mother arrived to check that my room was immaculate, removing all evidence that life actually existed within these walls.
I lifted my heavy head and brought the backs of my hands to my drooping lids which shadowed my hazelnut eyes. Rubbing my eyes, I practically fell out of bed. I loved to stand for a few precious seconds to feel the soft warmth of the carpet seep between my tingling toes; it made me feel as though my heart was being wrapped up like an expensive birthday present in a huge winter sweater. My bedroom was undoubtedly the most beautiful room anyone ever did see; my father allowed me to do whatever I wanted with my room, so naturally I used my talents to create my very own personal heaven. That bedroom is something that I always will miss but I vow that one day I shall re-create it in my own home with money from my own pocket.
I glanced down at my hot pink toenails before dragging my feet across my carpet to my fur slippers. As I shoved my feet into my slippers, I shrugged into my silk dressing gown which I’d had imported all the way from Paris. It was blacker than black and was coated in delicate, gold embroidery. At the time it was totally worth the effort just to feel the smooth material caress my skin.
As a very ripe passion fruit fell off the corner of the table in the kitchen and landed neatly by my feet my irritation began to emerge. I could just about see my reflection in the floor below me as I glanced down at the passion fruit. A large hand quickly blocked my view and snatched it up. It went straight to the bin. In this family, we certainly never ate anything which had come as close as three inches or less from the floor.
“Billy, did it ever even cross your mind that I might actually need somewhere to eat?” I asked our cook.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand Miss,” was his pathetic response.
“This table is bursting with so much food that some of it is ending up on the floor. Where on earth am I supposed to put my plate? Or did you just for some unknown reason think that I would be happy eating off the table like some kind of animal?” I was careful not to raise my voice as not to wake my nocturnal father who normally got up at a ridiculous hour. All he ever seemed to do was sleep during the day. He worked non-stop at night and then needed to spend his days in deep slumbers.
“I’m so sorry, Miss! It won’t happen again, I can assure you of that much.” Billy grabbed a plate of croissants and flew round to place them on the side.
Shaking my head, I planted myself onto one of the many chairs which framed the table, upon which sat a gleaming white table cloth; it was barely visible through the mass of food though.
I scanned the table, looking for something that would satisfy my morning cravings: bananas, toast, jam, chocolate spread, peanut butter, pancakes, cereal, omelette, boiled eggs, bacon, sausages…. What did I want? I reached out and simply settled for a bowl of porridge. I sprinkled a small helping of sugar onto it before wolfing it down.
That’s right. That was my life. Got a good impression of how sickening it was yet? If not, I’ve got more. Oh, I’ve got plenty more.
I spent the majority of my morning shopping. Alone. A gorgeous, little black dress was thrown over my arm; I would add it to my collection of little black dresses at home. Can never have enough! That was my motto. That was my motto for everything.
A pair of striking red, velvet heels with diamante straps and dome heels beckoned me over to the luxuries of the shoe section. I found my size. I tried them on. I joined the queue at the till, armed with my dearly beloved credit card which held the £1859 that was needed to buy those shoes that must be had. And I bought them.
That was the morning of the day I grew up. That was the morning that changed my life.
I stared out of the blacked-out window of my father’s Rolls Royce, noticing the odd group of teenage girls strolling by, laughing and chatting. Their white blond hair waved to me from behind them, blowing about wildly in the cool autumn breeze like a ray of sunshine stuck in the middle of a rain cloud. One girl’s faux leather jacket was soon zipped up over her bright pink, Primark dress. I’d seen that dress in an article my mother was reading the other day about Primark’s child labour. Although I knew she wasn’t really reading it; she was just keeping her head down so that my father wouldn’t take out his usual tired, grumpy mood on her as he got his late afternoon breakfast.
I shook my head and smiled to myself. I was thinking too much. I never did much of that you see.
I was looking at mobile phones on the internet when my mum approached me. Her face looked twisted.
“I like these shoes. Seeing as you and I have the same sized feet, I am going to have them.” My mother was swinging my brand new shoes in my face, watching them as they swung from side to side.
“But…you never want to have my stuff? I bought them and I’m keeping them!” I stared at her in disbelief. What was her problem?
“My money. My shoes,” she replied smugly.
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing!” I was screaming at her by now. At that point my father marched into the living room and placed himself by my mother’s side.
“What the hell is all of this shouting about?” he exclaimed, staring into my eyes.
“Mum’s trying to take my shoes that I just bought for myself. I love those shoes!”
“Give your mother the bloody shoes.” My father looked down at me, his dark eyes locking with mine.
“Why are you taking her side?” I whined.
“I always take her side.” My father spat in my face as he spoke. That’s when it hit me. It was a bullet that had cut right through my delicate flesh and slammed right into my heart. This was insane. I had been living a lie my whole life. For an outsider it would be hard to understand how I could possibly have such an epiphany just like that. I don’t even know if epiphany is the right word…it sounds too positive. This was more of a deep realisation, like awaking from a dream into a nightmare of reality.
I stared up at my mother and father who were standing side by side. I was just one big mistake. They were an undefeatable team who had been the opposition this whole time. I thought back, my life supposedly flashing before my eyes as if I was near to death, and realised that those three words which meant everything and at the same time meant nothing had never been spoken to me.
“Do you love me?” I whispered, looking from one parent to the other, my eyebrows tied firmly together. They said nothing. They didn’t even move. For a moment I thought that I had pressed some kind of pause button. I stood up slowly. “Do you love me?” I repeated the words, deliberately inserting them with menace. Approaching my mother and father, I shouted at the very top of my voice “Do…you…love…me?” The worst part was that their silence was simply confusion and shock; they weren’t fazed in the slightest by my words or by me. I suddenly felt something hit me with great force. I felt like I was shrinking, getting smaller and smaller all the time. My father had his, what seemed like abnormally large hands, held tightly round my shoulders. He was holding me like an alcoholic would hold a bottle of wine: with hatred but in a somewhat magnetic fashion in that they don’t want to let it go. Except in my case, my father didn’t need me or want me. I was literally less wanted than a mocktail to an alcoholic.
My heart was hanging on for dear life by this point, hoping that there was some love left for it somewhere. It certainly wasn’t getting any from me.
“Pull yourself together!” He released me with such force that I nearly fell to the floor. I felt like I was in a movie when the camera rotates around the actor to create a feel of shock or sadness. The plush carpet beneath me started to spin, along with the walls and the huge, gold chandelier that sparkled directly above my head. It was like a blinding spotlight, reaching a long finger out and pointing it straight at me as if it was blaming me for something; something that was beyond belief. But the truth was that it was about time that I started pointing the finger at my parents. The trouble was I loved my parents. I couldn’t help it. Even though they may not have loved me, I still loved them because I was brought up, maybe not by them but with them around and I got attached just like any normal child would. It was a hopeless one-way street for me. And it was time to accept the truth.
At midnight I turned 16 and left home. At midnight I turned 16 and grew up.